FolkestoneJack's Tracks

The rock canyon

Posted in Arapli, Turkey, Yeşilhisar by folkestonejack on September 6, 2015

Our tour started with a bus ride from Kayseri to Yeşilhisar, the station at the beginning of the scenic rock canyon. It was here that we expected to find TCDD 56 548, the last operational steam loco in Turkey, at the head of our four carriage train in readiness for the run to Arapli. It was to be a relatively leisurely start as we could not get going until the morning passenger express (the Erciyes Ekspresi from Kayseri to Adana) had passed through.

TCDD 56 548 at Yeşilhisar

TCDD 56 548 at Yeşilhisar

The first part went to plan, with our bus running parallel to the express train on the approach to Yeşilhisar (it departed from the station as we arrived). However, we could not get going straight away for we had a small problem to overcome first…

The sight of the crew banging away at the air pump with their spanners told its own story and was depressingly familiar to anyone who had been on the tour last year. Apparently the loco had been working wonderfully until a small part dropped off during service earlier this morning.

Thankfully there were a few diesel hauled freights around to distract and entertain us until the air pump was fixed. We finally set off at 10.28am and all thoughts of our difficulties faded as we set to work photographing the train at four locations en route to Arapli. The scenery all around was simply stunning, regardless of whether our train was in shot.

Our train with the hill top town of Akköy in the background

Our train with the hill top town of Akköy in the background

Our arrival at Arapli just after midday should have heralded a lengthy wait for our diesel to reach us and haul us back to Yeşilhisar. However, our luck was in – we were able to hitch a lift from a northbound freight hauled by a class 24 diesel. It must have made a strange sight for anyone at the lineside given that the diesel was now effectively hauling (in order) 4 flat wagons, 16 container wagons, our 3 wagons, 4 carriages and a steam locomotive!

Our lift back to Yeşilhisar

Our lift back to Yeşilhisar

The lift made quite a difference, getting us back into Yeşilhisar for a quarter past one. A quick bus ride into town from here gave us a chance for some much needed refreshment. The digital display in town indicated that the midday heat was a fairly unforgiving 38 degrees so most of us found a spot in the shade wherever we could. It hadn’t cooled much by the time we returned to the train in mid-afternoon. Time to begin all over again…

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